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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. - Shmaltz Brewing Company

Not Rated.
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

879 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 879
Hads: 1,921
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 17.57%
Wants: 83
Gots: 197 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 06-07-2006

A Double India Pale Ale with Rye Malt brewed in tribute to Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider 1925-1966).
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. Alström Bros
Reviews: 879 | Hads: 1,921
Photo of PatrickJR
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - A beautiful beer. Clear reddish amber with 4+ fingers of light tan head. Retention is great with the head lasting upwards of a few minutes leaving spectacular, webby lacing behind.

S - Malty sweetness is more than obvious upfront. Lots of caramel and some frut aromas. I'm not sure if I can detect the rye or not. The hops are also quite assertive with notes of pine and grapefruit. Slight herbal aromas as well.

T - Syrupy sweet malt takes hold first. Lots of caramel and touches of butterscotch and molasses. Hops enter next, full of herbal, spicy, and flowery flavors. Grass, pepper, rosehips, pine, spruce, and light fruity undertones all come to mind, ending in a rather high and coarse bitterness. Alcohol is quite apparent in the finish.

M - Thick, full bodied, syrupy, even a bit oily. Carbonation is moderate helping to thin out some of the brew's syrupy nature.

D - Not the DIPA I expected, but wonderfully unique in it's own right. Though I generally prefer maltier DIPAs, Lenny's RIPA almost gets a little TOO malty, with a nearly overbearing sweetness. Overall it works together, but it is on the sweet side and the alcohol is barely hidden at all.

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Photo of Aleks_P
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Very interesting color for a beer, a deep brown almost ruby color. Pours with a relatively healthy tan head. The initial appearance definitely piqued my curiosity.

Smell: The high alcohol content was apparent from the smell. Also picked up the hops quite a bit.

Taste: Immediately noticed both the bitterness and the alcohol similar to the smell, although the alcohol was less apparent in the aftertaste and the hops much much more prevalent. I was surprised how much the taste changed over the course of a sip, it finished very dry and bitter. Aftertaste is almost like a different beer than the initial taste.

Mouthfeel: Very, very dry beer.

Overall: This might just not be my beer style, but I've had a number of high ABV beers and found the alcohol was not masked in the smell or initial taste. Also very dry and hoppy and I didn't detect a lot of other flavors, although I need to ponder it some more as I finish this beer. Might just be having a hard time characterizing it but was not a standout for me.

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Photo of TheBungyo
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a gorgeous crimson caramel with a nice inch thick cream colored head. Nose is of massive caramel and strawberries. Taste is much the same. I don't understand this beer, it tastes far more like a barley wine. Mouth is on the cusp of full while still being a medium bodied beer. I'm going to buy this again but am in no rush. A good beer that is overshadowed by many greats in this region.

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Photo of cokes
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark and clear autumnal copper-brown stacked with a small pile of ivory sudsy lace.
The noes pounds home caramel apples, electric wintergreen hops, and rye peppery spiciness. It's not a varied or particularly complex aroma, but it delivers exactly what is promised. I appreciate the fact that rye is not lost in the fray.
The taste progression is similar. Sweet with caramel, toffee, and brown sugar at the fore. Some fruity tone develop, especially apple, with a suggestion of things more tropical, primarily mango. It gathers some toasty qualities, then rye steps up and inserts its trademark and unique brand of pepperiness. Hops add the syrups of grapefruit and wintergreens. Its very dank and bitter and peppery with suggestions of chilis and aspirin, which in sum fit the overall mood, but this would be improved if the overall hop statement was brighter and cleaner and definitive. Alcohol adds some late gin-like, juniper-rich heat, but for a brew of 10%, it matters little.
The mouthfeel is heavy, leavened slightly by the tiny amount of fleece-like bubbles that make it through. It teeters towards ungainly, but there is a deftness here.
As an obese amber ale, I love this. I am always a fan of rye and what it can bring, and does bring here. To toss this into the DIPA realm, it has some shortcomings. Averaging both schools of thought, it still is a solid "pretty good", regardless of parameters, and the overt rye tone push it up further in my biased perspective.
Nomenclature is a bitch though. Call this something semi-ridiculous, like Rye Strong Ale, and I'd score it much higher. Wrong as that may be.

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Photo of verset
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber color with slight reddish hues and strong caramel scent upon pour. Two finger head that fizzled down to a thin film over about 5 minutes.

Somewhat cloudy and dark for an IPA, probably due to the increased amount of malt. Strong malty taste up front followed by a nice bite of hops. Mouth is left with a sticky rye malt flavor.

The head is left as a film that looks more indicative of an ale than an IPA. Nice and low carbonation. The flavor is well balanced, but a little too malty in my opinion. I prefer a cleaner, crisper IPA.

Served in 16oz mason jar, refrigerated, pulled out for ~ 10 minutes.

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Photo of 57md
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I like the concept of brewing a beer in honor of a person not necessarily affiliated with beer. An edgy comedian like Lenny Bruce who was decades ahead of his time is a great choice for such an honor.

Pours a deep clear copper with a finger of head. The nose is lightly hoppy, but also possessed a dank quality that was not so pleasant. The rye notes are certainly present in the flavor profile, but they do not stand out. The finish is bitter, but not overly so. There is also an odd floral aftertaste on the tongue.

I really wanted to like this offering. I did to a certain extent, but it is a bit too quirky to be considered exceptional.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1475th Review on BA
Bottle to Spiegelau small tulip

No bottling date
Purchased at Party House Liquor, Chino Hills, CA. Dont remember the single price.

App- A weird mix of brown, gold, amber. 1/2" off white head. One line of lace at top. Nothing else.

Smell- Missing the Rye on the nose. Large creamy aromas of hops and thick malts. Citrus zest and caramel dominate with a bit of whispy booze on the nose. A bit singular in aromatics.

Taste- A very large DIPA. 10% is semi hidden with some good whispy booze flavors on 1st sip. The caramel is very upfront with big Rye and hops. Very creamy with a bit if pepper and orange zest.

Mouth- A thicker medium with a creamy flavor behind it. Medium carbonation with a residual rye,pepper malty orange zest.

Drink- It's been a very long time since I had this one and didnt remember it at all. Glad I came back to a 12oz vs. 22oz. Probably wont revisit.

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Photo of natelocc787
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gotta keep it real. Good beer. The rye wasn't very present in fact it was barely detectable. This beer is a hybrid, borderline Double IPA that balances caramel malt and hop character 50/50, and an American Barleywine Ale that is aggressively hopped like the SN Bigfoot. Good beer but give me more hops please! Good beer across the board, above average even but nothing stands out.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark reddish color. Hold it up to the light and you see a clear red. Nice frothy one finger head. Excellent lacing starting already.
S: Big time rye with a nice background of pine and grapefruit. A good bit of maltyness in there also. Slight pepper and spicy notes also--abv rears it head here.
T/M: Bitterness right from the get go with a nice rye attribute to it. The sharp rye notes have a grassy characteristic to it. Grassyness also lends to the malt notes. Spicyness on the palate with pepper notes on the tip of the tongue. Hop notes of fruit, mostly grapefruit. Nice big maltyness with bready notes laced with caramel. Extremely bitter on the tongue stinging the palate.
D: Drinkable to a point. Extra spicy, not from the hop notes, but from the abv. A sipping brew this is--hard to get through one yourself as it's almost too big towards the finish.

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Photo of bnes09
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ruby red in color with a rich white-ish head. Excellent retention and some lace spots.

Rich and smooth malty aroma. Like whiffing some fresh baked biscuits smothered in maple syrup and cherry jam.

Intense malt character. Dense biscuity flavor with plenty of sweet caramel and cherries. Mild herbal hop attempts at balancing. Not like any IPA I have tried, way too much malt character, not bad though.

Dense, full-bodied ale and well carbonated. Sticky on the tongue and lips and lacks the dryness I expect in an IPA.

Pretty good but not quite an IPA.

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Photo of Altrurian
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Lovely deep, complex amber, tending toward a surprising burgundy hue. Minimal head. The smell is disappointingly faint but pleasant, and, again, surprising: a cinnamon-roll yeastiness, more confectionary than hoppy. A stand-up, robust, uncommon flavor, not identifiable as an IPA (at least to my still-developing palate); comparable to the best red ales. Mouthfeel is a fine foamy prickliness. An attractive brew, its allure growing as it warms.

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Photo of soju6
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep ruby red color with an off-white head that fades slowly.

S: Aroma of grain, mostly rye, some caramel sweetness and malt.

T: Tatse of rye with some caramel sweetness. Bitterness comes though on the back end with a slightly sticky sweetness.

F: Medium body, quite smooth with a rich texture. Has a slightly lingering bitterness and a bit syrupy.

O: Interesting beer. Not an overly hoppy beer like some DIPA, seem to have a unique nitch. Worth checking out.

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Photo of Brianmerrilyn
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After 2 months in the cellar, caged and corked poured into an oversized wine glass to show off woodsy red, with fire engine tints. The head was a dense have fingers with a slow regression to afew pits on the side of the glass. Full glass of lace when you tilt it towards your mouth to show that Lenny is omnipresent. The nose was quite quiet at the start with sublte hops chiming in first. More sweet malts than anything else to body of the nose, Could not detect any rye but got some other spices to lure you in to a double IPA.

T: The flavor starts and ends with sweet but just like any good Lenny performance, the zing comes after you get all settled down. The rye makes the bite stronger and enjoyable and you continue to let this creation breath and express itself. The ABV is fairly evident but I think with my modest aging, it's tempered a wee bit. This is one of the easiets IPA's I've ever had when it comes to the hop department. That's not to say there are not almost a half dozen different styles with Cascade and Crystal that come to mind. I smiled however after burping a few minutes later and tasting a full mouthful of hops to taste more bitterness. It's a malt bevy anyway you shake it folks and the rye with the malts works against the hops even with multiple selections. Perhaps the dash of aging I did reduced the squad of malts? I liked the carmael and candy texture beyond the malts and hops as well.

M: At first impression, I would say flat and dull however after another pour, I change my mind completely. A big boy body with alluring thicky creamyness.

D: I will most assuredly go for Ole Lenny many times in the future. I'm sure this beer has had many different takes over the years, so reading some of the top reviewers may not necessarily if you the best information about Schmlatz's take on this developing style. Just as the performer brought something new to the table in his brief career, Schmaltz refines an overall quality body of work.

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Photo of mactrail
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fruity and bitter powerhouse of an ale. Like all the big Shmaltz brews the intensity of flavor is remarkable. Hugely bitter, but at least they cram in an indecent amount of malt as well. The rye flavor is sharp, vinous, distinctive. Less grainy than some other rye beers.

Looks nice with the long lasting cap of foam on the coppery orange brew. So powerful it's hard to taste a real mouthful. A boozy shotgun blast.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep cherry brown color in the glass, somewhat opaque, with a huge fluffy light brown head, that lingers for quite a while. Aromas of apricots, floral hops and some caramel. Tasting this one brings huge hoppy flavors, balanced nicely by the big malt backbone, leaving a lasting bitter finish. Another big, bold beer from an underrated brewery. I seem to remember this one being better than the one I'm drinking now, however.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a red-tinged amber colour, clear body with great head - really dense and fluffy - of cream colour. Lace is nice, looks pretty damn good overall.

Smell is quite nutty, with sweet cereal grain giving way to peanut brittle, toffee and distinct fortified wine notes. Touch of fig and cumquat, just a bit of ethanoic booze at the back. Nice and complex malt-bomb of a nose.

Palate seems a bit lacking in the middle. Starts fairly malty with nutty edge; toffee and peanuts, then develops some quite dirty bitterness on a mid-palate which is otherwise uneventful. Touch of carraway and resinous hop notes on the back, with lemon rind, mild spice and woody notes. Not bad but the flavours don't entirely mesh.

Smooth enough, full enough. Yeah, mouthfeel enough.

The front malt belies the later emptiness. Could use that malt all the way through to carry the palate. Good beer though.

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Photo of tony223366
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: HUGE head. Way more than 3 fingers. Head is very fluffy and light tan in color. Head retention is very good. Color is actually a brown with red highlights. Like a really dark caramel. Clarity is excellent!

S: Aromas are mostly malt based. I get lots of rich caramel and some chocolate? Lots of rich dark fruits which is surprising. The hops are present, but just barely in a citrusy way. Some nice biscuity malt too.

T: Well this is certainly a malt bomb for an IPA. I get huge caramel and even some of that chocolate. Dark fruits are present. After that I get some hops finally in a citrus way. I get something akin to vanilla as well. Tons of malt depth. There's some spicy notes from the rye.

M: Smooth and medium mouth with medium carbonation.

O: DIPA isn't quite right. Majorly malty with tons of depth. Something like a hoppy American barleywine. Not particularly delicious or what I want in an IPA but it's enjoyable and rich.

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Photo of Hornet2003
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby red with a small head.

Smell: Biscuity and sugary. Lots of oily hop aromas. This beer is over the top.

Taste: Almost a cross between a barley wine and a IIPA. Extreme bitterness, and a lot of molasses.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, and prickly. The bitterness is almost ridiculous. So aggressive its great!

Drinkability: For a IIPA, I would say it's above average. It's got serious grapefruit hoppiness and strong malty backbone. Incredibly complex.

Overall: Nice stuff, but don't expect to kill more than one 22oz in a night. This beer is ridiculous.

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Photo of spree92
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy, deep cooper with a relatively small head. Head didn't last long but did leave a slight ring.
I find this to be well balanced brew as most from the Shmaltz family are. Taste the malts first, a hint of toffee and roasted malts, finished with the hops. Bitterness lingers in the mouth with much delight.
At 10% abv, I could drink these every day. This is my kind of beer.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 8/1/08. Bottle. Pours a dark amber/brown with a thick light tan head. Aroma is quite malty with some citrus hops. Flavor of lots of malt/bread/cracker. Mostly bittersweet hops with some citrus and lemon zest. Also some iced tea. I didn't get much rye though, sadly (because I love rye). This was more like an ASA to me because of the strong malt presence. Pretty tasty though, although the hops may have faded slightly from this one.
7/4/8/4/14 (3.7/5)

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Photo of Nipitato
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Thin off white head caps a gorgeous deep red amber hue. Clear.

S: Hops, hops, and more hops. Resinous and grapefruit aromas characterize the predominantly hoppy smell of this beer. Sweet malt aromas linger in the background.

T: Crazily intense high hop flavor. Bitter aftertaste that lingers. Hop flavor is complex - resinous and piney not citrusy. As the beer warms an oak flavor begins to come through, which I really did not care for. Malt flavor is just a trace present.

MF: Medium body. Suprisingly no alcohol warming. Slick/cloying mouthfeel. Lightly carbonated.

D: An intensly hoppy lip smacking rye based DIPA. Very drinkable for such a high alcohol brew.

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Photo of Mdog
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This is one of the prettiest beers I've seen, a dark red amber with a good amount of little bubbles feeding a big head.

Smell: Citusy hops and some sweet bread smell.

Taste: Starts with bitter citrus hops and gets a little balance with some rye tanginess. Some alcohol present at the end.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick, typical for a DIPA.

Drinkability: The high alcohol and not quite enough sweetness knock this down a little.

This beer let me down a little after looking like a million bucks in the glass. Not super hoppy and actually seems a little more balanced than many DIPA's but the alcohol isn't hidden as well as other DIPA's. Still a pretty good beer though.

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Photo of Stigs
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

10oz pour at Fat Heads, served in a mini-snifter

A - dark copper/amber beer holds up a small layer of thick and creamy light tan colored foam.

S - very sweet...citrus candies, honey, dark caramel. earthy and lightly grassy hops round out at the end.

T - strong caramel malts hoist up citrus (grapefruit, melon) hops. there seems to be a bit going on here although the flavors appear to be fighting over each other...rye isnt really noticeable at all.

M - thick body, rich and chewy from the sugary sweetness. carbonation fights its way through.

D - drinks more like a hoppy barleywine with a massive dose of sweet malts. even my girlfriend liked it. a forced sipper due to the sweetness and ABV. this one could hold up over some time.

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Photo of jmerloni
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A nice mahogany amber color with very large sticky head. Bubbles rise up from the bottom constantly.

S - Great aroma. A LOT of hops. Spicy pine, citrus, and a lot of malt.

T - Decent. Not as good as it smells...It is EXTREMELY intensely hopped and has a huge roasted malty aspect, but they do not compliment each other very well and you taste each separately. The malt is there in the beginning and the hoppy bitterness on the swallow and I love a lot of hops, but it's almost too much. While there is malt, it is not a "backbone" by any means. The alcohol is also not hid very well.

M - Very thick...One of the thicker DIPAs I've had. Carbonated quite a bit, but not too much. The thickness of this doesn't make it as refreshing as it could be. Not a very dry finish. The sticky head does coat each sip nicely, however.

D - Not very drinkable. The hops are out of control and not kept in check at all by the malt. I love hoppy, bitter beers, but this beer could just be better crafted. After all, it looks and smells fantastic. Decent overall, but I probably wouldn't get it again.

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Photo of bfr1992t
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured 13oz in to a 16oz glass. Soft pour yet managed a thin off white head that clings to the glass. Nice medium amber color that nearly glows. Pours giving an impression that it's viscous. Smells bigger than it tastes, hints of quite a few different hops. Sip - nice mouthfeel, wakes up the top of the tongue. Taste, not as big as it smells. Many solid flavors, not just one overbearing hop note. The end is a bit touchy, bitter for an instant then smooths out. Smooth for a big IPA. The 10% ABV does not make itself known at all except possibly the first instant of hitting the mouth. I'd have to be careful with this one.

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 879 ratings.